Families and cyclists in Aldergrove are urging the Township of Langley to proceed with the introduction of new bike lanes which would create a safe and direct route through the area.
Earlier this year, the construction of much-needed bike lanes began on Aldergrove’s 32nd Avenue were quickly put on hold due to residents’ concerns about it leading to a lack of parking.
Removal of the centre line on the road had already taken place and the project, which was approved by council in 2013, was due to start in earnest over the Canada Day weekend before being halted at the last minute to allow for an extended public consultation.
The lanes, which the Township of Langley marked as the second highest priority in their Five Year Cycling Improvement Plan, are a vital component of the 37km Fraser Highway which would create a direct cycle route between the cities of Surrey and Abbotsford.
Some local residents have tried to put a stop to the plans as they oppose the removal of 97 parking stalls to make space for the lanes. Surveys by the Township’s engineers have shown that even with the addition of the bike route, on average 70% of stalls would be free at any one time.
By creating the lanes, the Township of Langley hoped to create a sustainable and safe route that would lead to reduced congestion and vehicle emissions, as well as encouraging more people in the area to bike or walk.
“We need safe passage for cyclists of all ages around the dangerous section of Fraser Highway in Downtown Aldergrove.” – Heath MacKenzie, owner, Cranky’s Bike Shop.
Local cyclists fear that if the council reneges on the plans it could have a significant impact on the area. Dan Millsip, Chair of HUB Cycling’s Langley Committee which advocates for better bike infrastructure, said: There is a need for a focusing on direct and connective routes in Langley and the Metro Vancouver region.
With the plans now in jeopardy, other potential solutions such as ‘Share the Road’ signs have been proposed but research has shown these provide no safety benefits and in many cases increase conflict between cyclists and drivers.
The Township of Langley Engineering Department has submitted an updated report to Council about the plans which council will put to vote on Monday, December 12. If you would like to comment on the plans, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This letter from HUB Cycling was submitted to local newspapers in early December, prior to the December 12 council meeting.
At the July 11, 2016 Township of Langley council meeting, a decision was reached by council in a 5-4 vote to provide a public forum for residents to express their concerns about the planned infrastructure for 32nd Avenue in Aldergrove despite the cycle plan being previously approved by council in 2013.
Council announced that a public forum will be held within the month.
Looking west on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street - Monday, July 4 @ 3:30 PM
While we understand and appreciate the concerns of the residents, which are mainly about the reduction of street parking and the public consultation process, the HUB Langley Committee have also reviewed the Township of Langley Engineering department's plans including the decision to remove the parking on the north side of 32nd Avenue and feel based on the parking survey data that we've seen, the plan is sound and makes good sense.
It's worth noting that in discussions with residents and in their presentation to council the residents have made it very clear that they are not opposed to cycle lanes - the main concern is the reduction of parking spaces and the perceived lack of public consultation.
There are currently 244 on-street parking stalls available on 32nd Avenue from Highway 13 (264th Street) to 276th Street - after construction there will be 147 stalls on the south side of 32nd Avenue (engineering chose to retain parking on the south side because the north side has only 97 spots available).
Data has been collected showing that parking on the street is at a capacity of 11 percent to 19 percent usage according to Township's engineering department. We have viewed the Township survey data and did our own visits to the street over the past few weeks to count cars and our findings are within the range of the Township's data findings with one exception where we later learned that a problem in a townhouse complex forced several residents to park their cars on the street for a couple of days.
Looking east on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street – Monday, July 4 @ 3:30 PM
In discussions we've had with transportation engineers we have learned that the threshold for parking is 85 percent -- this is the point where people will have to start to have problems finding parking spots on the street. If we consider that there are more spots available on the north side of 32nd Avenue, removing the parking from north side of the street will increase the usage on the south side by less than twice the amount then the percentage of parking after the bike lanes will be at approximately 32 percent of available stalls -- which is still much, much lower than the 85 percent threshold and will leave ample parking on the street for residents.
Our parked vehicle findings on five visits - totals are for the entire 2.7 km route:
||Approx. Time of Day
||Number of Parked Cars
|Sunday, July 3
|Monday, July 4
|Monday, July 11
|Wednesday, July 13
|Saturday, July 16
* We learned later that the spike in the number of parked cars in the area just west of the school on July 11 was due to a burst water main in a townhouse complex which forced several cars to park on the road for a couple days.
32nd Avenue looking west from 270th Street - July 3 @ 9:00 PM
We'd prefer to see bike lanes through Aldergrove on Fraser Highway as there are many benefits of having bike lanes on a main road that passes through a downtown area -- benefits include more visible exposure of bike lanes (so that people driving can see cyclists and say to themselves "hey, I could do that"), the financial benefit to businesses along the route (cyclists have jobs and spend money), and of course a more direct travel route.
Unfortunately for cyclists in Aldergrove, there is no development in the works for the section of Fraser Highway between 270th and 272nd. This area realizes a lot of congestion due to high traffic volumes, trucks, and limited space. As it is today, this section of road is only suitable for those who are capable of cycling with traffic -- far from All Ages and Abilities (AAA) which is what HUB Langley would like to see. Hopefully, down the road when redevelopment takes place in the downtown of Aldergrove, we'll see AAA cycling facilities included in the mix.
Looking at maps for alternative routes around the downtown Aldergrove section of Fraser Highway it quickly becomes obvious that the most logical and most direct bypass route around the downtown Aldergrove section of Fraser Highway is on 32nd Avenue and 276th Street.
32nd Avenue looking west from 276 Street - July 16 @ 1:30 PM
This 2.7 km by-pass around the dangerous bicycling section of Fraser Highway in the downtown of Aldergrove is a vital component of a 37 km Fraser Highway route that spans from the City of Abbotsford, through the Township of Langley, the City of Langley, to the King George Skytrain station in the City of Surrey. With 30 km of this route already hosting established cycling lanes, this connector through Aldergrove is of great significance to HUB's UnGaptheMap initiative.
If you're inclined to ride further west, you can ride from King George station through Surrey mostly on separated bike lanes to the Patullo Bridge and connect with the Central Valley Greenway which is a continuous bike trail (and nearly all separated from traffic) from New Westminster to Science World in Vancouver.
While we wait for council to announce a meeting date for the public forum, we at HUB Langley are researching options and reaching out to several stakeholders and decision makers in the community to find a resolve that will put this important project back on track.
The Issue: 32nd Street cycle lane construction halted
Construction on the 32nd Avenue connector (a new bike route that bypasses Fraser Highway around the centre of Aldergrove) has been halted due to complaints from residents along the street. The main issue appears to be parking related. Township of Langley Engineers have conducted traffic parking surveys and found that parking along the route is only being utilized from 11 percent to 19 percent of capacity -- meaning that there's a huge surplus of empty parking spaces along the route all day and night.
Engineers have determined that the amount of needed parking can be reduced to a single side of the roadway which means there will be room enough to install cycling lanes on both sides of the street.
In 2012, after public consultation, council approved the plan for this route, along with other roads in Langley in a 5 year plan for the development of a cycling network. This past week, after construction was already underway, complaints were lodged from residents who said that they were unaware of the planned construction and changes. This resulted in council halting construction of the bike lanes on 32nd Avenue last week until one resident can voice his argument against the project at this coming Monday's council meeting (July 11 at 7:00 PM). HUB Langley has also submitted an application to speak at this meeting.
For cyclists, the route is extremely important as it provides safe travel around the downtown section of Aldergrove along Fraser Highway which you'll know if you've ridden there, is quite hazardous for cyclists due to an extremely narrow roadway with high traffic volumes, large trucks, and no bike infrastructure. There are no plans in place for substantial redevelopment of the area so it will likely be many years before we will see cycling lanes on Fraser Highway through the Aldergrove downtown core.
What can we do?
There are two things to do:
1. Write a letter supporting the planned bike lanes on 32nd Avenue
And then send it to the Mayor and Council of the Township of Langley. Letters must be sent via email to Township of Langley by this Friday at 4:00 if they are to be included in the information packets that council receives before the Monday meeting. This doesn't leave much time so write your letter today and send it off right away and please, don't delay. We've provided a sample letter at the end of this email that you can copy and paste but we recommend that you change it a bit to make it your own.
Your voice matters -- writing a letter is the best way to be heard and each and every letter will make a difference. Council needs to be made aware that this cycling infrastructure is a vital part of a Fraser Valley bicycle corridor that connects the City of Surrey, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, and the City of Abbotsford. Let's tell them!
Currently, 31 kms of the 37 km Fraser Valley corridor along Fraser Highway has cycling lanes. This 2.7 km addition in Aldergrove will leave only a short section in the City of Langley remaining to make it complete. We can make it happen.
Letters must be sent to email@example.com by this Friday, July 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm.
2. Attend the Township of Langley Council meeting on July 11
Show your support for cycling in Langley. Get involved in your community.
The meeting takes place at 7:00 pm at:
Township of Langley Civic Facility
20328 - 65th Avenue
Langley, BC V2Y 3J1
View the meeting location on Google Maps
Support Letter Template
Following is a sample letter that you can copy and paste and use as is or as a template to write your own letter. Please send your support letter in an email to Township of Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org
< --- copy and paste the following --- >
Mayor and Council Township of Langley
Dear Mayor and Council,
I would like to express my support for the construction of bicycle lanes on 32nd Avenue from 264th Street to 276th Street, and on 276th Street from 32th Avenue to Fraser Hwy.
The 32nd Avenue connector is a vital section of a Fraser Valley cycling route that spans the length of Fraser Highway from Surrey Central to Abbotsford connecting the Fraser Valley from east to west and allows safe cycling around the bicycle unfriendly section of Fraser Highway in the Aldergrove downtown core.
It is my recommendation that Township of Langley Council lift the stop work order to allow construction of bicycle lanes along the 32nd Avenue corridor to continue.
[INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]
< --- end of copy and paste letter -- >
Please don't delay, the deadline to submit your letter of support is this Friday, July 8th at 4:00 pm. Send your email support letter today to email@example.com
Welcome to HUB Langley
We've got some great cycling destinations in Langley and we're really excited about working with our local councils, engineering and planning departments, and cyclists just like you.
We'll be working to build better and safer infrastructure and to provide education to cyclists of all ages in Langley.
Our committee officially became a part of HUB in May of 2015 and in those past six months we have made substantial progress in expanding our network of relationships with people in our community who influence the cycling community.
We've now got nearly 180 email HUB Langley supporters on our email list and the support we've received from the community so far has been extremely encouraging. Sign up for our mail list to be kept up to date with new happenings.
Working with Langley Schools
After a successful HUB Learn2Ride bicycle training program for grades 3 to 5 at West Langley Elementary School in Walnut Grove, we are further collaborating with the school staff, the local Parent Advisory Council, and the Township of Langley to improve infrastructure and safety in the school catchment area and to increase the numbers of students riding bikes over the next year. We'll keep you posted as to our progress.
Ungapping the Map!
Over the past months the HUB Langley Committee has been looking at several prospective bike routes throughout the City of Langley and the Township of Langley and have determined the major UnGapTheMap segments that will tie the Metro Vancouver area together. Focusing on transportation routes we have identified the following routes as essential to the transportation cycling network:
Golden Ears Bridge to South Langley: This is an extremely important 17 kilometre corridor that will effectively provide access from the Golden Ears bridge, through Walnut Grove, Willoughby, Langley City, Brookswood and beyond to south Langley. From Golden Ears bridge, the route is along 96th Avenue to 208th, then south through Walnut Grove, over Hwy 1 to Willoughby continuing on 208th to Langley City where the route follows the Willoughby Connector to 204th Avenue and over the Langley Bypass overpass and on to 203rd in Langley City and then continues south to Grade Crescent where the route winds through a few residential streets and across the BC Hydro right of way before continuing on 204th to 36th Avenue at Noel Booth Park.
96th Avenue: Another important route that connects travelers from the Surrey border and the Golden Ears bridge to Langley and Fort Langley.
Fraser Highway: There is currently a significant gap along the Fraser Hwy through most of Langley City. We have identified this route as an extremely high priority and are working to find solutions that will work for all modes of transportation.
Glover Road: An important route connecting the City of Langley to Fort Langley. This route also provides access to two post secondary institutions; Trinity Western University in Langley Township and Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the City of Langley. The route is already popular with sport riders and commuter cyclists riding from Langley City to Fort Langley.
Cloverdale to Langley City: We've been working with the HUB Surrey Committee to define a route that will connect the two city centres without the need to climb the steep hill between the two. The proposed route follows a primarily flat route through some neighbourhood roads, past Brydon Lagoon and winds its way along 55th, 54th, and 53rd Avenues to the intersection of Fraser Hwy at 180th Street. From there it meanders through quiet residential roads to the downtown core of Cloverdale. The route makes for an enjoyable afternoon ride.
We'd like to hear what you have to say about these routes or anything related to cycling in Langley.
People helping out in the community is what makes living in Langley great. If you'd like to get involved with HUB Langley we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line on our Contact Page.